Kings Oak History

King’s Oak was originally the “weekend retreat” of Mr W. C. King, the Group’s founder and first scoutmaster.

The site is three quarters of an acre in size. As well as the small two roomed bungalow and mess hut, it is flanked by mature trees and split by a beech hedge.

Originally the site had no facilities apart from water, when Bill King first invited the scouts to camp there in 1930. For some Cheam lads this offered the opportunity to learn and practise various woodcraft skills popular in the early days of Scouting.

When the World War II came in 1939 severe restrictions on camping were enforced by the government, and travelling was difficult. Mr. King offered the use of his site to his scout troop for their annual summer camp and occasional weekends under canvas.

By 1948 Mr King’s health was failing so he rarely spent time at his Box Hill retreat so he offered to sell the site to 1st Cheam. The loan to purchase the land was repaid entirely through the collection and sale of waste newspapers, very lucrative at that time. Mr. King died on 3rd November 1950 and a memorial plaque was erected in our Headquarters.

The Group Council then decided to find an appropriate name for the camp site. Mr. King had always been fond of oak trees, so the acceptable name of “King’s Oak” was chosen and since November 1951, the site has officially been known as King’s Oak. At the time a small oak sapling, about five feet in height was transplanted from the copse at the far end of the site and moved to the right side of the main entrance where it still stands today.

The Troop now use the site for weekend patrol camps and it also provides valuable training ground for Cubs and Beavers when learning basic scouting skills. Regular working parties of scouters, supporters and parents help to maintain the site.

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls